Want to Live Longer?

As we get older, we may have a few more aches and pains, as well as a few extra pounds here and there. If we stop taking care of ourselves, the effects can add up which can lead to disease, limited mobility, and even an early death. But with a few small changes, you can easily extend your life and quality of life.

Fruits and Vegetables

According to the BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal), researchers found that eating fruits and vegetables can significantly affect your risk of death. The researches looked at 16 studies that ran between 5 and 26 years and found the risk of death dropped 5% with every serving of fruits and vegetables participants ate per day. The more you eat, the more you’re protected – up to 5 servings a day.

Nuts

Another study (conducted by  Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Richard M Fairbanks School of Public Health, and Indiana University) followed 76,464 female and 42,498 male health professionals in the US for up to 30 years.

The researchers found those who ate  28 g of nuts (about a small handful), seven or more times per week had a 20% reduced risk of death. Eating nuts was associated with a reduced risk of death from any cause during the study, and the more frequently nuts were eaten, the lower the risk of death.

Running

According to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, running just 5 to 10 minutes a day can add years to your life. Researchers followed 55,137 adults for about 15 years and found that running even just 7 minutes a day can reduce the risk of death. The study participants who ran regularly had a 30% reduced risk of dying from any cause and a 45% reduced risk of dying from heart disease – the number one killing disease! Those who ran the entire 15 years, cut their risk of heart disease in half!

Keep your eyes open for a recipe coming this week with delicious life extending powers – minus the running, that’s your homework! Get to it!

Mandy Seay is a registered and licensed dietitian. She works as a nutrition consultant in Austin, Texas specializing in diabetes, weight loss, lipid control and preventative nutrition. For more health articles and nutrition information, check out Mandy’s website Nutritionistics.

Home-Made Taco Seasonings

Taco night is one of my favorites – we eat tacos – or some form of it – just about  every week. We keep it interesting by simply changing out the type of tortilla, tostada, or salad.

In keeping with this week’s theme – herbs & spices, I thought I’d share one of the ways we keep our tacos at home healthier (and cheaper) with home-made taco seasoning.

This recipe comes from Allrecipes.com and was submitted by Bill Echols.

Get the taco seasonings recipe here.

Mandy Seay is a registered and licensed dietitian. She works as a nutrition consultant in Austin, Texas specializing in diabetes, weight loss, lipid control and preventative nutrition. For more health articles and nutrition information, check out Mandy’s website Nutritionistics.

Protein packed snack

One of my favorite snacks is cottage cheese and kiwi. It’s super fast to make, satisfies my salty/sweet cravings, and it’s filling.

Cottage cheese tastes great with many different fruits whether they’re berries, tomatoes, or melon – you can vary the version so it doesn’t get boring.

The pros: Just like other dairy options, cottage cheese provides:

  • probiotics
  • potential for bone improvement
  • great source of calcium
  • great source of protein
  • vitamin D
  • potential to lower risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes

The con – the sodium content. If you’re working to watch your salt, you’ll want to try another snack instead – see my yogurt sundae post for another high protein, yet satisfying snack.

Other uses for cottage cheese…

Adding cottage cheese to certain foods can actually lower the calories, while bumping up the protein content. Try cottage cheese in your waffle/pancake batter, as a salad dressing, in your lasagna,  or your cracker spreads – you are only limited by your imagination.

Lactose intolerant?

Luckily, cottage cheese contains lower amounts of lactose. According to the Cleveland Clinic, people with lactose intolerance can usually find a level of lactose-containing foods that is tolerable. You may already know if you’ve gone through trial and error about what amount and type of lactose-containing products you can handle without symptoms.

If you find you’re sensitive, but you really want dairy, you can purchase lactase enzyme in liquid or tablet form – no prescription needed. Just take it right before you eat your lactose-containing food.

Nutrition Info (for 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese and 1 small kiwi)

Calories 132, Total fat 2.5g, Cholesterol 10mg, Sodium 450mg, Total Carb 16g, Protein 13g

Buen Provecho!

Mandy Seay is a registered and licensed dietitian. She works as a nutrition consultant in Austin, Texas specializing in diabetes, weight loss, lipid control and preventative nutrition. For more health articles and nutrition information, check out Mandy’s website Nutritionistics.

Quality over Quantity – Exercise and Meals

Photo: Evening jogger by Ernst Vikne

The Journal of Applied Physiology published a paper in May 2014, stating that the quality of your exercise matters more than the amount when trying to lose weight, gain fitness, and maintain optimal health.

In this report, benefits were found from following a varied exercise program that included all of the below exercises:

  • interval sprints
  • resistance exercises
  • stretching (yoga or Pilates)
  • endurance

Additionally, adding moderate amounts of protein regularly throughout the day, improves ability to reduce belly fat, increase lean body mass (muscles), and be on the road to reaching goals for healthy blood pressure and blood glucose and insulin levels.

How you can do it

Check with your doctor before doing any of these activities if you aren’t sure how they will affect you.

Interval sprints -this is a type of exercise that is very high in intensity. Besides allowing you to do a great workout in a short time period, it also helps you build endurance, and burn more calories and fat after your workout.  Plus, it can be done anywhere.

For a quick 30 minute workout – start with a warm up for 10 minutes – a light jog or a very fast walk. Work hard enough to where you can carry on a conversation easily but you’re heart and breath rate are increased. On a scale of 1(easy)-5(extremely hard) – aim for a 2 to a 2.5.

Next, you’ll start your sprints. Your sprints will last 30 seconds and you’ll want to be a 4.5-5 on the effort scale.

After 30 seconds, slow back down to recover at a 2 on the exertion scale for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, do another 30 minute sprint.

Alternate sprints and rests for 15 minutes. Use the last 5 minutes to cool down – at an effort scale of 1.

Resistance Exercises – These are exercises that use resistance to contract the muscles. You can use dumbbells, rubber exercise bands, your own body weight, bottles of water, heavy cans of foods, or anything else that causes the muscle to contract.

Aim for at least 30 minutes. You can pick out certain exercises and do so many sets and reps or you can find 15 exercises and do them for 1 minute each and then repeat to complete a 30 min workout.

Stretching – yoga or Pilates were used in this study. Finding a stretching workout can be as easy as signing up for an online yoga membership (ex.. Yogadownload.com), searching for an online  (ex. YouTube) video, downloading an app on your smart phone, or finding a DVD at the library.  Again, aim for at least a 30 minute workout.

Endurance-These activities are usually anything that increases your breathing and gets the heart rate up. Some typical types are walking, swimming, playing tennis, climbing stairs, biking, dancing, yard work, basketball, etc. Find something you love to do and aim for at least 30 minutes.

Increasing Protein- Try to increase protein in the morning and afternoon. Typically dinners are high enough in protein.

Some things you can use to improve protein intake are increase intake of these at breakfast, lunch, and/or snacks:

  • Greek yogurt
  • cottage cheese
  • eggs
  • beans
  • edamame
  • quinoa
  • tuna

 Buen Provecho!

Mandy Seay is a registered and licensed dietitian and certified diabetes educator. She works as a nutrition consultant in Austin, Texas, specializing in diabetes, weight loss, lipid control, and preventative nutrition. For more health articles and nutrition information, check out Mandy’s website Nutritionistics.

Lasagna Soup

To be honest with you, I’m not a fan of soups. Most aren’t satisfying enough for me. I used to affectionately refer to them as watery food.

However, I found a soup recipe that changed my mind about soups. If a soup can be hearty, have bold flavors (from herbs and spices) and a mixture of textures – then I’m definitely on board.

There’s no doubt this recipe is a hit, it has been shared and blogged about all over the internet. I’ve adapted it a bit, but the original Lasagna Soup comes from 300 Sensational Soups by Carla Snyder and Meredith Deeds.

This recipe is a healthy choice for anyone watching their weight or managing diabetes – it’s loaded with flavors and not a lot of calories, fat or carbohydrates.

Get the Lasagna Soup Recipe here.

Buen Provecho!

Mandy Seay is a registered and licensed dietitian. She works as a nutrition consultant in Austin, Texas specializing in diabetes, weight loss, lipid control and preventative nutrition. For more health articles and nutrition information, check out Mandy’s website Nutritionistics.

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